Lower Damgate Farm Cottages & Wedding Venue Dovedale Animal Sanctuary

Dovedale, llam, Nr Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 2AD
Tel: 01335 310367 Mob: 07779 210791 Email: info@damgate.com

 Other Activities Walks and Local Things to Do

 Visiting our very own Dovedale Animal Sanctuary

Dovedale Animal Sanctuary at Lower Damgate Farm was set up in 1996 and continues to provide a forever loving home to a number of rescued farm animals, from Alpacas, Goats, Horses, Ponies, Sheep, Ducks, Chickens and Geese, plus some other little critters like Hedgehogs, Ferrets and Field Mice! As well as our dogs and cats!

All our animals have a story to tell, so as well as rescuing them we also work with every animal from the moment they arrive spending lots of time with them, giving them food, love and cuddles so they get to know us and trust people again. Our Holiday Cottage and Wedding guests are welcome to go and say hello to the animals as they all love company and are very inquisitive.

If you would like to help at feeding time then please come and find us either at the farmhouse or around the farm. Our animals are tame and gentle enough to interact with and will happily accept a cuddle or carrot from you! Though please be careful as they do get excited if you have food on you! However please also be aware that our animals are not domestic pets so be mindful and careful when around them. Children must be supervised at all times and interaction is at your own risk.

Our guests are also welcome to go and collect eggs from the hen house or come to the farmhouse where if we may have some or please look in the fridge in the Landry room.

(Eggs are not always available as laying in dependant on times of year and the weather!)

Many guests ask if we re-home our animals after being with us. The answer is no, as they are safe and happy at the farm, this becomes their forever home and it would be unfair to move them.

Please enjoy your time at the farm with the animals and we look forward to getting to know you too

Local Walks (we have put some walks together for you at the bottom of this page) 

One of the things about living where we do at Lower Damgate Farm is that there are stunning walks straight from the farm. We are literally situated between the river Dove and Manifold and both are a short stroll away. These are popular attractions so if you would like to go off the beaten track a little bit, please call me or arrange for me to show you the way!

You will find a big ordinance survey map in the games room where you can plan your walks. However we are always happy to point you in the right direction to a local attraction or one of our good local pubs!

Places to Visit

National Trust Park at Ilam – just 1m down the Hill from our farm

Ilam Park is often missed and well worth a visit whilst you are staying at the farm. It is part of the National Trust and White Peak Estate. There are often activities and adventure things to do at Ilam Park and The National Trust rangers put on activities every weekend and you can join in and enjoy the experience. On Fridays there is often an open walk with a ranger day and these activities are free.

There is also the Manifold Tea room which serves yummy cakes and Molly’s ice cream van is often in the village on a warm sunny day.

The youth Hostel at Ilam. The YHA is open to the public and they also have a bar. The setting is beautiful and in the National Trust grounds of Ilam Park. It’s well worth a visit for a walk and can meander along the river and have a beer! There are often loads of activities going on at Ilam so just pop down there or call 01335 310212 to find out any information.

Chatsworth House:  Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1PP Tel:  01246 565300

Home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and only half and hour from the farm, if you have time this is a must as the scenery, house gardens and setting is stunning. Karl and I still visit regularly as there is always something new and it’s right on our doorstep!

Visit some Caves – There are many famous caves locally to us :

Pooles Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, Blue John Cavern and more, all worth a visit.

Alton Towers : 15 minutes away – Theme Park: Open March to mid November.  Web: www.altontowers.com

My children go to Alton Towers all the time and never tire of it…rides ranging from scare thrills to tea cups and you will definitely get wet on the water rides…Sea Life centre is also there now and has a lovely display of sharks! We have been going since my children were little and the rides cater for tots to teens/adults and if you don’t like the rides you can meander around the beautiful cultivated grounds and park, though you may hear a lot of screaming in the background from the hoards of people who are there for the thrill rides, my little tykes included. The largest and most famous theme park in the country is just down the road and your children will never forgive you if you don’t take them…….just don’t tell them its there. If you do go I suggest you book your tickets online as it will save you a fortune.

Things to Do 

Have a go at a workshop or other activity whilst you are at the farm. 

Threads Workshops – call Cathy and Janie Tel 01335 310125 or text 07732 222206 email – threadsworkshops@gmail.com  website – www.threadsworkshops.co.uk

Cathy and Jani deliver creative and enjoyable needlework workshops and craft workshops at the farm. The cater for a range of abilities and are very popular, especially with groups, wedding or hen guests and often do workshops specifically for groups to make corsages etc.  At Threads you can make Japanese temari balls, corsages, fabric boxes, work designs in crewel wools or silk, learn the embroidery stitches, and much more. Enjoy learning a new skill and come away with a special hand-made item to keep or use as a gift. They also offer a bespoke service to groups celebrating special events such as a birthday, anniversary or wedding, where they will design an item to suit your individual needs. This is a great activity whatever the weather and there is plenty of space at the farm to cater to your needs however large or small.

Paintball and Quad Biking : Wild Park,  Brailsford –  Tel : Richard 01335 360485 info@wildparkleisure.com :  www.wildparkleisure.co.uk

Now this is fun (really fun) and where my boys 13, 14 and 40 always want to go…me too as this is not just for boys! You can have a great time, quad biking around 10 miles of very different terrain and getting covered in mud (overalls and helmets are provided) paintballing and my goodness if you get hit sometimes it hurts, I have welts to prove it,  so this is not for the faint hearted. There is also laser tagging, for those who don’t want to dodge paint balls but who get tagged instead… Richard is a really nice chap who will look after you and try not to get you too muddy!

Golf:  Ashbourne Golf Club, Wyaston Road , Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 1NB Tel: 01335 342078 E-mail: sec@ashbournegc.fsnet.co.uk     Web: www.ashbournegolfclub.co.uk

Enjoy a round of golf in Ashbourne and appreciate the stunning views over towards our farm and Dovedale. Ashbourne is a lovely course and many of our guests highly recommending it. My friend whose brother plays professionally took me around and taught me how to play. I can now appreciate the draw to the game and if I had more time or I was on holiday like you then this is where you might find me….Oh I changed my mind I think I’d like the gliding better….. or the Paintballing…..

Horse Riding – Tissington Trekking Centre – Wood Farm Tissington Tel: 01335 350276  ask for Sue.

Great for beginners and novices and your ride includes a leisurely scenic tour of the peaks. Stunning. If you are an experienced rider be warned you will not be able to go off on a gallop, however all ages and ranges are catered for. You can stop off for tea at Tissington coach house on your way back…… A really enjoyable experience for everyone and a lovely day out.

Water Sports/ Sailing / Fishing etc  – Carsington Water –  01629 540478  enquiries@carsingtonwater.com   www.carsingtonwater.com.

There is lots to do at Carsington and not just Sailing, Kayaking, windsurfing or power boating ( though you can do those too) and in high season all water activities need to be booked in advance as it gets very busy. Carsington is also a wildlife heaven and bird watching paradise with a little fishing thrown in as well….though I prefer the river Dove for that…You can walk, ride (hire bikes) shop, lunch, picnic and relax there whilst taking in the view of one of the largest lakes ( reservoir)  in the Peaks. Carsington also offer Fishing days and is one of the premier competition lakes in the country. ( Trout Master)

Fishing on the Dove

Please call Rupert Hignett on 01335 310389 where you may be able to hire a day ticket for a three mile stretch of the Dove from Milldale to Berefords dale. Those tickets are very limited but sometimes there are guest rods for hire. This is one of the best fishing areas on the Dove.

Day Tickets are also available from Hartington Stores in Hartington on selective parts of the River Dove and Manifold River.

 Shooting, Clays, Fly Fishing on the Yeaveley Estate –Contact Guy on 01335 330247 www.yeaveley-estate.co.uk

The Yeaveley Estate located about 15 mins away offers a wide range of shooting sports, Fly Fishing and country pursuits. They have extensive clay pigeon facilities which can provide a challenge to both novice and experienced shooters.

Go-Ape: Buxton. Website: www.goape.co.uk or  Tel: 0845 643 92 15.

You need a head for heights with this one and I did it with my 14 year old under duress and then went back for more. I loved it. You climb up into the trees and attach yourself to zip wires. Under 14’s need to be accompanied by an adult ( hence having to go with Reuben) The idea is to get from one end of the park to the other without touching the ground and using muscles you didn’t realise you had, you’ve seen monkeys do it, well that’s about it you become the monkey! The final highlight is flying through the air on a zip wire, exhilarating. 

Paint a Pot  – Sticky Fingers

This is a shop in Ashbourne (12 Church Street) which does ceramic painting and has a craft studio. 01335 4108001 enquiries@stickyfingers-parties.co.uk

This is incredibly good fun and a great way to spend your time with your children or just friends. My children love going here and will spend hours painting their own pot or creating a “masterpiece” of some sort of construction! There is also a tea room in house with fabulous cakes.

A Time to Kiln – Mobile pottery painting.  Ask for Jenny  01543 481176  www.atimetokiln.co.uk

You really can’t beat this for something different and brilliant fun for all the family. We have a great time and keep adding to the collection.  Whatever you make Jenny will kiln it for you and send your items directly to you back home. Very reasonable for an afternoon of creativity and only £11 per person.

Water Park – Alton Towers : Water Park Caribbean lagoon –  www.altontowers.com

Part of Alton Towers above though situated in the Splash landings Hotel away from the theme park.  It is a little like oasis, water world or centre parcs and is like a tropical island with lots to do both inside the dome and out, swim wear is a must. Splash landings claim the longest water ride in the country as well as flumes and water rapids. The hot tub is nice.

Spa Days or Pamper Parties

( if you llok at other information you will find lots of beauty theapies on our wedding helpful page)

Alton Towers Spa, Tel: 0871 702 7043 Half day packages from £45

Just chill and relax and let someone else look after you…

Adventure Activities

Airways Air Sports :  01335 344308   E-mail: office@airways-airsports.com Web: www.airways-airsports.com

Airways Airsports is one of Europe’s top flying schools for Hang Gliding, Paragliding and flying Micro light aircraft. Darley Moore Airfield, Darley Moore, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 2ET  Darley Moor is on the A515 just outside Ashbourne going south and is great for that special treat or for something a little different 

Peak District Hang Gliding Centre, Tel: 01538 382520 or 07000 4264 454 – mike@peakhanggliding.co.uk  – www.peakhanggliding.co.uk

1/2/3/5 day hang gliding courses for complete beginners.  I haven’t done this but I still want to.

Aspire adventure activities – David Matthews Tel: 01629 732445 Mobile: 07786740384

www.aspireadventureactivities.co.uk email info@aspireadventureactivities.co.uk Dave offers friendly, professional instruction in rock climbing, abseiling, rock scrambling, mine exploration, caving, orienteering, guided walks, team building for school, youth, special need groups, families, adults, scouts, guides and special events, birthday and stag and hen groups. Gift vouchers available for special events. AALA licensed (L2730/RO520) Climbing, Water sports, caving and Trekking. Open all year.

Twin Peaks Outdoor Activities – Colum Walsh Tel: Mobile: 0797 972 4014
Email: colum@twinpeaksoutdooractivities.com  Website: www.twinpeaksoutdooractivities.com Colum from Twin Peaks Outdoor Activities offers a range of Adventurous activities for any type of group and can cater to your needs. Hen, stag parties, family groups, team building, recreation, outdoor education, development and training to voluntary organisations, individuals, families, adults, youth groups, schools and corporate groups. Either here in our 20 acres or there, this company will enthusiastically plan a great time for you. There sister company Twin Peaks Adventurous Activities also provides activities to individuals who are enthusiastic and want to go further, higher and deeper………

Acclimbatize :  01629 820268 info@acclimbatize.co.uk Website : www.acclimbatize.co.uk  01629 820268

This is a really fun outdoor bound type of activity including some abseiling and treasure hunts and outdoor adventure activities. Great team building and bonding! Worth giving it a go with great rates for larger bookings… when you ring them say where you are staying and remind them that last time I did this at Melanie’s Hen Party I got stuck in a hole on top of a mountain..Now how can I be in a hole at the top of a mountain!

 Even if you don’t have time for all these adventures, we hope you will enjoy yourselves at the farm and have a wonderful time. The real emphasis at the farm is relaxed with our ‘nothing is a problem’ attitude.

 Whatever the weather we hope that you will enjoy the ambience of the farm (outside as well as in) and relax with your family and friends with a glass of wine, beer or chilled juice…. Guests are welcome to explore and picnic in our fields, feed the animals and collect eggs as well as make use of the 22 acres of farm grounds and woodlands that we have.  For us there is nothing better than enjoying the farm with your family and friends (and we are lucky to live here) Relaxing and spending time together whilst soaking up the animals, cottages and grounds in hopefully lovely weather is sometimes all that we need to recharge!

 Before you go please look at our Facebook and Instagram pages, please add your photos and make comments or leave interesting to-dos for other intrepid guests, we like to share and get to know our guests and hopefully we will meet you again soon……

Thank you

Carolyn and Karl


Lower Damgate Farm is the perfect place in which to explore the White Peak area, either walking from the farm or by driving a small distance to other beautiful areas. It takes about 25 minutes to drive to Buxton and from here you can pick up walks in the Dark Peak area. We will be happy to go through the map with you and help you with any information you may need to get the most out of your walks in the Peak Park.

However there are a number of lovely walks from the farm and you can leave your car here and go and explore on foot! The Peak Park Rangers have recently restored most of the footpath signs so they should be easy to follow.

We are literally nestled between Dovedale and the Manifold valley and when you climb over the hills on either side of the farm the views are quite spectacular.


Stepping Stones or Milldale

Go past the main Farmouse and you will see the big barn (Dovedale Barn)  above the Farm Yard. Take the gate leading into the field on the right. Head East and take the footpath down the field, until you pick up a footpath at the bottom, turn left onto that footpath and follow it to Hall Dale. (here there is a crossroads) you will see Stanshope on the left, straight up the hill is the path to Milldale and if you a right, you will see the gorge which leads you down the footpath along Hall Dale  – this will lead you directly to the river Dove.  It’s about 10 minutes’ walk from here to the River and downhill all the way!  At the bottom by the river this is roughly in the middle of Dovedale ½ way between the Stepping Stones and Milldale.

You can either turn left from here for the HARD path to Milldale. (Experienced walkers only!). Or go right, over the wall and along the river path through some woods until you see the bridge below Ilam Rock.

You cross this bridge to pick up the general footpath along Dovedale. Once you’ve crossed the river you can either turn Right for the stepping Stones and Dovedale Carpark, which then goes to the Isaac Walton Hotel and Ilam. (National Trust Tea Rooms) 

or Turn Left for Milldale and the pack Horse Bridge and Polly’s hole in the wall tea room.

From Milldale you can climb back up the Tops (via the very steep footpath left just before the car park) and across the fields back to the farm.

Or carry on that road until you get to the Watts Russel Arms.

From Milldale if you go past the tea shop and up that long road, you will come into Alstonefield and the George Pub.

From Milldale 

If you Turn Right at Ilam Rock Bridge you will reach the Stepping Stones – Dovedale Car Park- you can go to the Sir Isaac Walton for lunch then climb over Bunster Hill picking up the footpath for Stanshope and walk back home again. 1.7 miles home (uphill)

From Milldale you can walk on the road to the Watts Russell Pub for lunch and then back home via Stanshope. Pub to home is 0.9miles.

If you want to walk to Alstonefield missing the road, take the footpath to Hall Dale (as above). Cross the footpath at Hall Dale and head straight up the hill and pick up signs for Alstonefield or head due north! Have lunch at The George. It’s 1.7 miles home via the road.

 Thorpe Cloud

from Ilam turn left at the monument and head towards dovedale car park….. go over the two bridges spannin ghte River Dove and you will see Thorpe Cloud on your left. You can either walk this from Dovedale itself, or drive to Thorpe car Park and walk it from there. Past Thorpe Cloud is the village or Thorpe where you will find the Old Dog Pub.

Bunster Hill

You can either walk from the farm via the map or from Ilam Village.

Walking from teh farmhouse, turn left at the road and head up the hill, as you come to the crest at the bottom of the next hill you will see a road with a cattle grid on your left. ( you can see Bunster Hill in the background) Go over the cattle grid and head up the track which will say Ilam Tops Farm and Air Cottage, go to the first Farm (Ilam tops) and take the track to the right just past the farm. This will take you directly to the top of Bunster Hill.

If you carry on past Ilam Tops Farm to Air cottage, you will see some fantastic views down the River Dove and across to Thorpe cloud. Take the footpaths left from there and it will lead you back down some woods into the bottom of the river Dove by Ilam Rock. From there you can take the footpath left and then up Hall Dale and back to the farm. ( You will need a map though!)

Alternatively park in Ilam and at the momument turn left, walk past the last house on your left and you will see a gate on your left. Take this gate. If you go straigt up from this gate it will take you uip bunster hill and once you’re up there you can see for miles on a clear day.

If you go left at this gate it will take you to the Izzac Walton Hotel and on to Dovedale Carpark. 

Manifold Way

At the end of our drive there are two footpaths both 100 yards either left or right. If you turn right out of the farm drive you will find a footpath 100 yards to your left. Take this footpath leading west and cross the field until you get to a dry stone wall. This picks up teo footpaths. One to Castern and one ot Wetton. 

If you turn right it will take you to Wetton,, stay on this footpath following the hill upwards towards a copse of trees

If you turn left here following a track, it will take you past an old disused mine (loads of rubble) and to a nature reserve with  fantastic views down to the manifold River and across to Throwley Hall. (If you look closely you can see the ruins to the old Hall)  Note the River is dry here as it runs underground and only comes out again at Ilam.

The footpath runs left to right. If you turn left it will take you parraell to the farm and to Castern and Ilam beyond. If you turn right here you can follow the ridge in the hill to Wetton, or the Manifold Way via Beeston Tor (famous for its rock climbing & abseiling) and Thors Cave.

For a circular walk from here take the path to Casterne following signs and at Casterne Farm (before the Hall) turn left picking up footpaths back to the farm.

For a longer walk you can go on to Ilam, then either come home via the Road or for a heartier walk climb Bunster Hill and return that way.

Thors Cave.

You can either walk this from Wetton Village itself (The Royal Oak Pub and the Village Hall Tea Rooms)  There is a sign at the end of the village marking a track straight to it. Or go down to the Manifold way from Wetton and walk along the track towards Waterhouses (South by S/W) for ½ a mile then climb the steep hill to the top. This has recently been set with steps, making it an easier walk!!

Walks with Children and Bikes

The Tissington Trail, High Peak Trail and Manifold Way are excellent for walking and biking. They each have their own particular beauty but all are good for children.

You can hire bikes in Ashbourne (01335 343156) for the Tissington Trail and at Parsley Hay 01298 84493 on the A515 for the Tissington Trail and High Peak Trail. You can also Hire Bikes at Waterhouses 01538 308609(A52) towards Leek, for the Manifold way. Most cycle hire places have trailers on some bikes, for children too young to ride themselves.

Manifold Valley

The Manifold Way is an old disused Railway track similar to the Tissington Trail. It runs from Waterhouses (A52) to Hulme End nr Hartington.

Drive to Wetton and pick up signs for the Manifold Way & Butterton, as you drive down a very steep hill you will see Thors Cave on your left. (It’s worth a walk!) To walk the Manifold Way, either park at the bottom of the hill or drive on 200yrds to Wetton Mill where you will find National Trust Tea Rooms open during the summer months and at weekends. You can also drive to either end of the track, that’s at Hulme End or Waterhouses and park in the car parks provided.

Have fun